Tesla Enhanced Mobility

Bridging the Last Mile with Powered Seats

Posted by dave on April 02, 2024

Dear Elon Musk,

My name is Dave Hardin and I'm a happy owner of a Model 3. Thank you for disrupting just about everything. Your ability to transform vision into reality is a talent very few possess.

Forty million people in the U.S. and one billion people globally have a disability. Tesla is a great vehicle for folks with physical limitations. It already provides key functionality such as; easy exit mode, voice commands, easy to plug in at home (and avoid having to pump gas at a gas station) and very functional V12 Full Self Driving (Supervised). With these features, Tesla helps folks with difficulty walking to get close to their destination, but not close enough.

After the car arrives, the person still needs to navigate the "last mile". This requires further assistance such as a walker, scooter, wheelchair or powered chair. Tesla cars currently support a folding walker or wheelchair in the trunk. A scooter can be supported using a hitch and platform. These however require assistance or strength. This is often not the case. Many people want to live independently for as long as possible. Why not leverage the technical capabilities of Tesla vehicles to extend beyond the car to include the "last mile" of transportation?

What if the front driver's seat could transform into a power chair that could "undock" from the vehicle and become a self-powered wheeled seat? The person could auto park the car, undock the seat and safely go shopping/dining/etc. When finished, the chair would be redocked to the vehicle. Back on the road and off to wherever. The power chair would have a seat-to-vehicle system for undocking and docking, four wheels that telescopically extend from the bottom of the seat when undocked, an electric motor with battery for traversing a "reasonable" distance along with a joystick for control.

Existing solutions include custom-modified vans that support wheelchair entry and wheelchair docking into the drivers position with hand controls. These are expensive, clumsy and difficult to procure. Tesla could provide a vertically integrated Tesla solution or a vehicle platform for integrating third party powered seats by partnering with companies that are in the powered chair market.

By supporting an optional but integrated convertible power seat, along with accessible charging, Tesla would be the preferred vehicle for a large and growing population of mobility-impaired people who want to remain independent for as long as possible.

Thank you for your valuable time, Dave Hardin Upperbay Systems LLC dave@upperbay.com